‘The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway’ (or S.M.J.) was a small independent railway company which ran a line across the empty, untouched centre of England. It visited the counties of Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and a little of Buckinghamshire, only existing as the SMJ from 1909 to 1923. In 1923 the S.M.J.became a minor arm of the London Midland and Scottish (L.M.S.), then in 1948 'British Railways' 

Gone but not forgotten: "the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth"


SMJ Forum

Funny Story about Kineton Military Railway 1 Reply

An improbable, funny, but absolutely true story relating to the Kineton military railway.Long after my Army days I still retained an affection and passing interest in Kineton ammunition depot where I served during the 1960s. Coupled to a 'love' of…Continue

Started by Dave Hayward. Last reply by Dave Hayward Apr 28.

Blisworth - Towcester ETS working

Electric train staff equipment had been brought into use between Blisworth and Towcester by 9 August 1910 (date of SMJR minute 451 (TNA file RAIL 674/3)) and presumably the new signal box at Blisworth appeared at the same time. In that this was so…Continue

Started by Richard Maund Apr 20.

Blisworth 1920

SMJ board minute 1474 of 13 April 1921 (TNA file RAIL 674/4) approved that “the following expenditure be charged to Capital” for year 1920: “Blisworth: Signalling and alterations to Permanent Way, Improvements and additional signalling: £800”. In…Continue

Started by Richard Maund Apr 20.

Evesham Redditch & Stratford-upon-Avon Junction Railway 8 Replies

Did this railway (as opposed to the East & West Junction Railway) go into receivership - if so, when. And when did it come out of receivership?Continue

Started by Richard Maund. Last reply by Richard Maund Feb 11.

SMJ photos

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Locomotive types seen on SMJR rails





Those of us who are old enough to remember the SMJR lines in steam
days might be tempted to say that you only ever saw 4Fs or 8Fs,especially east of Woodford. By the ‘60s these would have almost exclusively have been Northampton locos. But there WAS variety.

I have compiled this list with reference to the contents of this website, to the standard works of literature on the line, plus books about Northamptonshire’s railways or about the GCR and to my own and other people’s observations. I do not claim it to be 100% accurate or complete so I welcome your comments, criticisms and additions. I have defined the SMJR as extending from Blisworth SMJR station to Broom Junction, from Towcester to Cockley Brake Junction and from Towcester to Ravenstone Wood Junction. Locomotives known to have worked through Broom Junction are not necessarily included as they may have been working to and from Redditch and not along the SMJR. I have also included recent workings between Fenny Compton and the MoD depot at Kineton.

Most of the GWR engines seen only ran between Stratford and Woodford on freights in the 60’s, but the 2251 class (which did not have the clearance issues of the outside cylindered classes) did make it to Blisworth and even Northampton on a few occasions. Many of the more unexpected appearances by LNER or BR types occurred on Woodford to Byfield ironstone sidings trip workings. There must be other unrecorded classes that Woodford shed used on such workings (or on through workings to Stratford especially in GCR days). Similarly there must be other unrecorded GWR classes that were used between Woodford and Stratford in the ‘60s. Surely other LMS classes must have appeared at Blisworth’s SMJ platform or on race day specials to Towcester.

Apart from the modern day workings to Kineton, diesel workings have been very rare but I did see a Class 08 diesel shunter pass Blakesley on freight during the ‘60s.

Special thanks to Gary, Si Donal, Peter Fleming, Barry Taylor and the late John Jennings, who between them have contributed a lot of this information. Also last but not least I must thank Rex Partridge for the use of his extensive records of workings around Woodford West and Byfield and for patiently answering various questions in detail.

Dick Bodily March 2012 ( last updated 24/2/2020)

N&BR The Owl probably ex L&B railway 0-4-2

N&BR Sharp 2-2-2

N&BR Tayleur 0-6-0 ( formerly Ajax)

N&BR Sharp 0-4-2T

N&BR 0-6-0 (believed formerly belonging to a French railway, named 'La Savoie' rebuilt as 0-6-0ST) 

N&BR 2-4-0 ( believed formerly belonging to a French railway, named 'Ceres')

N&BR Sharp 2-2-2WT

E&WJR (loaned from Boultons) Beyer Peacock built or rebuilt? 0-6-0ST ('Wellington' & 'Nelson' - converted from 0-6-0s)

E&WJR Yorkshire Fairlie 0-6-6-0T

E&WJR Fairlie 0-4-4T

E&WJR Yorkshire Engineering 2-4-0T

E&WJR Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST

E&WJR Beyer Peacock 0-6-0 (detailed differences on individual locos including wheel size and cylinder dimensions, along with other SMJ owned types were grouped into 4 power based classes A,B,C &D)

E&WJR Beyer Peacock 2-4-0T (one of the first British side tank locos)

E&WJR Beyer Peacock 2-4-0 (used on SMJ system for Marylebone - Stratford through coaches)

E&WJR (loaned from Boultons) George England (ex S&DJR) 2-4-0

LNWR Hawthorn Goods

LNWR Vulcan Double Framed 0-6-0 (used on N&BJR)

LNWR Hawthorn Long Boiler 0-6-0 (used by N&BJR)

LNWR DX Goods 0-6-0 (3 were bought by E&WJR)

LNWR Cauliflower Goods 0-6-0

LNWR McConnell 0-6-0

LNWR Jumbo 2-4-0 (Blisworth – Stratford ‘expresses’)

LNWR Super D 0-8-0 (one seen on Byfield - Blisworth ironstone train in 1960, they were more regularly seen earlier when 2E still had an allocation)

LNWR Webb 2-4-2T (Towcester Races excursions with double auto train)

LBSCR Goods 0-6-0 (bought by SMJR)

LBSCR Terrier 0-6-0T (on loan from Edge Hill Light Railway)

LSWR A12 Adams 0-4-2 (used on wartime Kineton Depot - Fenny Compton troop trains)

SER Wainwright 01 0-6-0 (to and from WW2 allocation at Kineton) 

EHLR Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST (on loan from Edge Hill Light Railway)

MR Midland 0-4-4T ( replaced Ro Railer)

MR Midland Compound (on railtour)

MR 4-2-2 Spinner (on inspection train in 1920s)

MR 1P 2-4-0 (Stratford Old Town only)

MR 2P 4-4-0 (on inspection trains)

MR 2F 0-6-0  (regular on passenger freight pre WW2)

MR 3F 0-6-0 (regular on passenger & freight up to close of 21D)

MR 4F 0-6-0 (regular on passenger & freight)

L&YR Class 27 0-6-0 (transferred briefly to 2E)

LMS 2P 4-4-0 (on inspection trains)

LMS 3F 0-6-0 (regular on passenger & freight up to close of 21D)

LMS 4F 0-6-0 (usual choice for most workings from LMS days on)

LMS 2MT 2-6-0 (at least one record)

LMS 2MT Tank 2-6-2T (shunting at Blisworth SMJ only)

LMS 4MT 2-6-0 (replaced 4Fs at 2E and used in last few months of the line)

LMS Black 5 4-6-0 ( 2Es locos became more regular in the last few months)

LMS Stanier 2-6-0 (seen at Towcester)

LMS Crab 2-6-0 (seen at Byfield)

LMS Stanier 2-6-4T (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

LMS Fairburn 2-6-4T (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

LMS Fowler 2-6-4T (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 (seen at Towcester), another seen near Fenny Compton on a down vans train in 1964

LMS Patriot 4-6-0 (Blisworth SMJR station only on cattle train)

LMS Jinty 0-6-0T (seen shunting redundant ECS at Towcester also at Kineton Camp in WW2)

LMS 8F 2-8-0 (mainly as usual choice of loco on Byfield-Blisworth ironstone trains)

LMS Ro-Railer

LMS Armstrong Whitworth Diesel Electric Shunter ( to and fro allocation at Kineton by MoD during WW2)

GCR Compound Atlantic 'Jersey Lily' 4-4-2 (on excursions to Stratford from the GCR, the 52' turntable there was installed especially for this class and its sister standard 'Jersey Lilies' but only the compound No 258 'Viscount Cross' was recorded as reaching Stratford although the standard version probably did as well.)

GCR N5 0-6-2T (Woodford – SMJ passenger)

GCR Sacre 2-4-0T (Woodford – SMJ passenger)

GCR O4 2-8-0 (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

GCR J11 Pom Pom 0-6-0 (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

GER J69 0-6-0T (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

GER F4 Holden 2-4-2T ( to and from allocation at Kineton by MoD during WW2)

GER B12/3 4-6-0 (on railtour)

NER B16 4-6-0 (no less than 4 records!)

LNER B1 4-6-0 (one seen at Towcester and also freight to Woodford from Stratford))

LNER K1 2-6-0 (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

LNER K3 2-6-0 (one worked to Blisworth and return on freight)

LNER J39 0-6-0 (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

LNER J50 0-6-0T (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

LNER LI 2-6-4T (Woodford route learning trains and also Woodford – Byfield pick up goods)

LNER 01 2-8-0 (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

GWR 22xx 0-6-0 (a few records on pickup freights from Stratford – Blisworth, also on Kineton MoD trains)

GWR Deans Goods 0-6-0 ( to and from allocation at Kineton by MoD during WW2)

GWR 51xx 2-6-2T (brakevan route learning special?)

GWR 61xx 2-6-2T (on railtour)

GWR 81xx 2-6-2T (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR 63xx 2-6-0 (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR 28xx 2-8-0 (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR 56XX 0-6-2T (seen at Fenny Compton SMJ platform only)

GWR 64xx 0-6-0T (Stratford Old Town only on last railtour, but also on an inspection train in 1952)

GWR 72xx 2-8-0T (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR 94XX 0-6-0PT (breakdown train at Stratford Old Town only)

GWR Dukedog 4-4-0 (on railtour)

GWR Hall 4-6-0 (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR Modified Hall 4-6-0 (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR Grange 4-6-0 (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR Castle 4-6-0 (freight to Woodford from Stratford)

GWR King 4-6-0 (repaired and tested in steam Kineton MOD – Fenny Compton)

GWR County 4-6-0 (Stratford Old Town only)

GWR Manor 4-6-0 (Stratford Old Town only)

GWR Diesel Railcar (on excursion)

SR U 2-6-0 (on railtour)

SR Q1 0-6-0 (on railtour)

SR N15 or S15 4-6-0 (running west light engine at Byfield during WW2) 

BR WD 2-8-0 (Woodford - Broom or Stratford through freights)

BR 5MT 4-6-0 (Woodford - Broom or Stratford through freights)

BR 4MT 4-6-0 (Woodford - Broom or Stratford through freights, plus one seen at Towcester)

BR 4MT 2-6-0 (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

BR 3MT 2-6-2T (inspection train)

BR Derby Western Region DMU (on railtour)

BR 9F (including Giesl, SC and DC variants)

BR 9F Crosti (one seen on Olney-Towcester section, another towed through Blakesley)

BR Class 08 diesel shunter (on down freight at Blakesley also shunting iron wagons at Blisworth)

BR Class 20 (stored at Kineton MOD)

BR Class 25 (Blisworth - Blisworth Ironstone sidings, also Fenny Compton - Kineton MOD including weed control train)

BR Class 27 (Blisworth - Blisworth iron ore sidings, a pair)

BR Class 31 (Fenny Compton - Kineton MOD, also stored at Kineton MOD)

BR Class 33 (railtour visited Kineton MOD)

BR Class 37 (Fenny Compton for Kineton MOD)

BR Class 40 (Fenny Compton for Kineton MOD)

BR Class 44 (seen at Blisworth SMJ station, worked to the iron ore sidings)

BR Clas 45 (Fenny Compton - Kineton MOD)

BR Class 47 (Fenny Compton - Kineton MOD)

BR Class 55 Deltic ('Tulyar' towed to and from Kineton MOD for a private ‘open day’)

BR Class 58 (Fenny Compton - Kineton MOD)

BR Class 60 (Fenny Compton - Kineton MOD)

BR Class 66 (Fenny Compton – Kineton MOD)

BR Class 92 (towed to and from Kineton MOD, stored there)

BR Class 323 EMU (towed to and from Kineton MOD where temporarily stored)

BR Class 458 EMU (towed to and from Kineton MOD where temporarily stored)WD Diesel –hydraulic 0-4-0 (Fenny Compton – Kineton MOD)

WD USA S160 2-8-0 wartime loan (Woodford –Byfield pick up goods)

WD USA 0-6-0T ( to and from allocation at Kineton by MoD during WW2)

WD Austerity 0-6-0T (towed to and from Kineton MOD)

LT Unidentified Underground stock (towed through Byfield pre-WW2)

Contractors locos:-

Included among others unknown: Hunslet 0-6-0ST and Sharp Roberts & Co 2-2-2 (building the N&BR); Manning & Wardle 0-6-0ST and Neilson 0-4-0ST (building the E&WR) and Black Hawthorn 0-6-0ST and Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST (on the Towcester to Olney section)


Confirmation Required

GCR Steam Railcar (used between Woodford and Byfield for a short time around 1909?)

GCR Atlantic 4-4-2 (did the non compound version ever run on the SMJ?)

LNER V2 2-6-2 (believed to be have been seen at Blisworth)

Prototype HST Power Cars (stored at Kineton, believed to have arrived by rail)

LMS 12000 series Diesel Shunter ( pretty sure I saw one on a pick up freight early 60s)

This actual engine GCR 'Jersey Lily' Compound Atlantic 4-4-2 No 258 Rt Hon. Viscount Cross, GCB.GCSI ran through to Stratford from
Woodford on a special.


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Comment by Dick Bodily on December 5, 2023 at 19:40

Two additions recently 94xx tank as seen in breakdown picture, also a pir of Class 27 diesels as per Barry Taylor  (Dick B)

Comment by Simon Stevens on March 6, 2022 at 11:04

DMU pedantry follows!

The railtour DMU (3 car set with Derby style ends, destination blinds in the cab roof and low density layout) can only be a Derby class 108 or Gloucester class 119. I think it's a Gloucester unit. The main clue is the way the cab front lining drops below the windows and passes above the headcode panel. The 108 has fewer windows between the passenger doors too but I can't find a clear enough picture to count them.

Here's a 119:

On a 108, the side windows are lower down so the upper lining rises to go over the cab windows:

Comment by Dick Bodily on February 24, 2022 at 19:26

Updated 24th Feb 2022

Comment by Colin Franklin on June 8, 2018 at 16:49

I have just come into possession of a black and white photograph of "Rothervale No 0". This was originally the first new locomotive that was purchased by the East & West Junction Railway in 1879. The photograph shows the loco in its withdrawn condition minus its front buffers and drawbar hook. When it was withdrawn at Treeton was it stored there until it was sent for scrap?

Comment by Dick Bodily on December 19, 2016 at 10:17

Nigel has passed on this extra information concerning Le Chemin de Fer de Rhone et Loire engines, cheers Nigel.

At 19:11 on December 18, 2016, NIGEL said…

Further history on 0-6-0 La Savoie. In 1841 Joseph Locke, engineer of the Paris & Rouen Railway, asked Brassey & Mackenzie contractors, in conjunction with William Allcard, contractor for the Permanent Way on the Grand Junction Railway and William Buddicom, engineer, to jointly supply the plant at the Chartreux Works. Hence the company of Allcard & Buddicom was formed specifically to supply locomotives, carriages & wagons to the Compagnie de Chemins de Fer de Rouen. This contract was for 40 locos, 120 2nd class carriages & 200 wagons. The first locos were built in October 1842, to an "Allen Crewe" design manufactured under license. In 1845 the company moved to better premises in Sotteville near Rouen. The 2 French tender engines 2-4-0 and 0-6-0 were purchased from Le Chemin de Fer de Rhone et Loire in 1858 by Thomas Brassey for a contract in Savoy, namely the Mont Ceris Tunnel Railway, which opened in October 1871. Savoy is part of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region following its annexation to France in June 1860. The test train took a party of 54 including Buddicom, Crampton & Brassey as Director. Both French engines were probably hired to the E & WJR in 1874 from Thomas Brassey.

Thomas Crampton, an English engineer, was the contractor who built the line for the E & WJR and was later a director of that company.

William Buddicom, an English engineer, who built some of the first locomotives in France.

Thomas Brassey, an English civil engineering contractor, had by 1870 built 75% of French Railways, 33% of British Railways, and 1 in 20 miles of railways in the world.

Two questions come to mind. When was La Savoie actually named and where was she built? We know La Savioe was built in one of two places, but was she named in honour of Savoy being annexed to France?

Comment by Dick Bodily on December 13, 2016 at 11:25


According to Jenkins' Northampton & Banbury Railway' the Thomas Brassey engines likely originated from Le Chemin de Fer de Rhone et Loire and were acquired by Brasseys while doing a contract in Savoy.


Comment by Dick Bodily on December 13, 2016 at 10:32

John, etc.

I've found this SMJ Castles discussion from some time ago on the Wandering 1500 page!  So I've moved it to where it should have been.


Comment by Dick Bodily on December 13, 2016 at 10:30


I agree with you that Castles were banned on the SMJ apart from the triangle but believe that one did reach Woodford on at least one occasion, probably more often. I only have anecdotal evidence in this belief, but from reliable sources. I spoke with Rex Partridge who as you know befriended and interviewed many ex Woodford footplatemen including Ray Norrish who was involved in one of the instances. Ray took over a Castle at Honeybourne working a mineral train containing anthracite or a similar coal product. This train which sometimes ran in the afternoon during the final months of the SMJ from South Wales to the Leicester area unusually carried a long distance freight headcode.  It was diagrammed for WR Double Chimney 9f haulage but other engines were sometimes substituted.  Rex believes that Ray, who was a good friend and a fellow enthusiast as well as a driver, told him the truth about what happened. Ray was a determined confident Cockney character who enjoyed a challenge when driving. Ray came to a halt on the incline leading up to Byfield Ironstone siding and struggled so much to reach Byfield that a member of the station staff was sent on foot to see where he had got to. On arriving back at Woodford  he was summoned by a senior railwayman to receive a right ear bashing. Ray who had an answer for everything waited patiently for the telling off to stop, then casually replied ' A Castle you say? I thought it was a Hall!' This story was verified independently by two other drivers to Rex, Arthur Eyles and George Cave. Rex was also told that Castles reached Woodford on this train on other occasions and that a few wagons would be detached before tackling the SMJ. The story ties in with David Blagrove's account of seeing a Castle on the SMJ with mineral wagons.  It seems likely that the Castle that Ray drove originated from Gloucester which had a couple of Castles still active at the time but in deplorable external condition minus number and name plates and only identifiable by faint chalked on numbers.

Comment by Dick Bodily on December 13, 2016 at 10:29

Comment by John Jennings on March 13, 2016 at 15:43Delete Comment

 GWR Castle class locos were prohibited from the ex SMJ route. Is there any substantive evidence for this "sighting"? No records exist of such a working at the Stratford end of the line. Special permission was given in 1961 for Castle class locos to traverse the triangle of lines at Stratford Old Town as far as clearance of points A on the ground frame in order to turn.


Comment by Dick Bodily on December 10, 2016 at 19:45

Don't know Colin, I'll see what I can find out.


Comment by Colin Franklin on December 10, 2016 at 14:05

Did the E&WJR' s "Buddicom" 0-6-0 La Savoie start out life working on the Nord Railway before transfer to England?

Comment by Dick Bodily on August 10, 2015 at 12:39

Updated 10/8/2015 


Comment by Dick Bodily on January 27, 2014 at 15:20

Now 123 separate types/classes listed including recent diesels on MoD trains!  Confirmation required for additional 3. I never thought when I started this list it would end up so extensive!




Comment by Dick Bodily on January 27, 2014 at 15:15

Updated with inclusion of 81xx tank seen by Rex Partridge at Byfield on Woodford bound freight. Believed to have been commandered at Honeybourne, its normal role being as a banker on the Honeybourne to Chipping Campden section of the Worcester main line. - 27th January 2014 

Comment by Dick Bodily on March 12, 2012 at 14:35

Confirmation Required

LNER V2 2-6-2 (believed to be have seen at Blisworth)

Prototype HST Power Cars (stored at Kineton, believed to have arrived by rail)

LMS 12000 series Diesel Shunter ( pretty sure I saw one on a pick up freight early 60s)

Comment by Dick Bodily on March 7, 2012 at 19:50

If you haven't had a look at this page recently do so as some very interesting classes have been just been added to the list by myself but mainly by Barry Taylor's researches. The most unusual ones are a GCR steam railcar used briefly between Byfield and Woodford and Hinton as it was in 1909 and a very unusual LMS diesel - electric ( rather than mechanical) shunter but there are also LSWR and GER types too.  Dick Bodily

Comment by Dick Bodily on November 27, 2011 at 16:55

The latest diesel class to work the regular Didcot - Kineton via the SMJ remnant was a Class 60! This happened this October, I would have liked to have seen that!

Also recently added to the list was Class 458 Juniper EMU - they were stored at Kineton for a time.

Comment by Dick Bodily on September 4, 2011 at 16:45

Locos which have recently been added to the list include:-


LMS Jinty - overlooked by me but noted elsewhere long ago on this website. It was seen shunting dedundant coaching stock at Towcester, witnessed by Bob Hodson.

Class 25 at Blisworth SMJ witnessed by Peter Fleming

Class 33 on diesel railtour visited Kineton MOD - early '90s

Class 58 on Kineton working

Stanier Mogul at Towcester seen by the late Lewis Hawtin

Last three items came via Rex Partridge

Comment by Dick Bodily on February 20, 2011 at 19:27

More additions

Rex has recently refound some misssing notes concerning interviews he made with ex railmen many years ago. From these he has told me about two new classes. An old railwayworker who began in 1920s recalled seeing a Johnson 4-2-2 Spinner with an inspection saloon at Byfield during early LMS days. Another man told how he saw an N15 'King Arthur' (which might just possibly have been an S15) near Byfield ironstone sidings heading west light engine during WW2. He believed it to be in connection with a troop working. Evidentally N15s often worked through Banbury from the SR as far as Woodford during that war. Rex is going to check through these 'lost' notes carefully as he thinks there is some mention of a Stanier Mogul on the SMJ in them. Of further SMJ interest Rex tells me that someone who used to work at Byfield Ironstone told him that in addition to the ironstone trains out via the SMJ at Blisworth and to the 'Round the World' pick up that there was also another ironstone working from Byfield West towards Stratford or Broom. Also he tells me that wagons picked up from the SMJ by the 'Round the World' were dealt with at Woodford Down Old Yard.

Comment by Colin Franklin on January 26, 2011 at 17:07
Further to my posting of the 8th December 2010 the dimensions of this Double "Fairlie" are given in the book "A History of the Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway" by R.C. Riley and Bill Simpson on page 133. They are: Coupled Wheels 3ft 6in; wheelbase of each bogie 8ft; outside cylinders 16in x 20in. Weight in working order 57 tons; water capacity 2,100 gallons, coal 30 cwt. The loco had two drivers and two firemen. The sister engine, a single "Fairlie" had one driver and one fireman. Incidentally, the single "Fairlie" carried the name "Robert Fairlie". They are attributed to be the first locomotives to work in Britain with Walschaerts valve gear.

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